University of Southern Mississippi celebrates annual Founders’ Day

University of Southern Mississippi celebrates annual Founders’ Day

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi celebrated Founders' Day 2015 on the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses with the awarding of service pins, recognition of academic achievement among students and the installation of Student Government Association officers.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Southern Miss gathered on Monday, March 30 to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the University's legislative founding.

"This day is set aside to observe the rich history and promising future of The University of Southern Mississippi," President Rodney D. Bennett told a large turnout at Bennett Auditorium. "We remain committed to preserving the legacy of this great institution and together we can ensure our University thrives for many years to come. I am convinced that our greatest opportunities as an institution of higher learning lie ahead."

Top student award winners were seniors Sean Patterson from Madison, Miss., who received the Phi Kappa Phi Bowl, and Shantriece Brumfield of McComb, Miss., who was presented the Judge R.J. Bishop Mississippian Award.

The Phi Kappa Phi Bowl is awarded based on superior academic achievement. Patterson is a student in the University's prestigious Honors College and a Presidential Scholar.

The Bishop Award is presented to a student who is a native Mississippian and has overcome personal adversity to achieve his or her academic and career goals. A sagging GPA forced Brumfield, who was working full-time with a young daughter, to abandon her dreams of a college education in 2008. However, she saved enough money to return years later and complete her undergraduate requirements at Southern Miss.

Senior Ned Nelson of Hattiesburg won the coveted Leave it Better Than You Found it Award presented annually to a student who made a noticeable difference during his/her time at Southern Miss.

"To me, the phrase 'Leave it better than you found it' is as synonymous with Southern Miss as 'To the Top.' It is the first thing freshman hear during orientation week and the last thing they hear during graduation," said Nelson. "I am forever grateful to Southern Miss for allowing me the opportunities I've had. Southern Miss is certainly leaving me better than it found me."

Jeffrey George took the oath of office for his second term as President of the Student Government Association. Other SGA officers sworn in during the ceremony included Vice President Kyle Stoner; Attorney General Autumn Sobel; Treasurer Blake Dunaway and Election Commissioner Phoenix Pope.

Other student awards included:

Outstanding Freshmen

Nathan Barron, Caroline Bradley, Maggie Dickerson, Kathryn Dozier, Victoria Gieger, Kayla Hubbard, Courtney Kendrick, Harrison Livingston, Francisco Lopez, Hannah Lott, Gillian Purser, James Valentine, Russell Vick, and Henry Woodyard.

Most Outstanding Freshman Female

Kathryn "Katie" Dozier

Most Outstanding Freshman Male

Henry Woodyard

Best Female Citizen

Alicia Frazier

Best Male Citizen

Anthony Curry

Leave It Better Than You Found It Award

Ned Nelson

Barbara Ross Gold Leaf Scholarship

Kayla Patak

Student Hall of Fame

Meredith Barefield, Nicolet Hopper, Jamie Jackson, Wilton Jackson II, Elena Lofton, Erin McLeod, Jaycee Padgett, Daniel Paul, Lindsey Pellittieri, and Hannah Roberts.

Four new members of the University's Centennial Legacy Circle, which includes current and former members of the university's faculty and staff, were recognized for having given a minimum of 40 years of service to Southern Miss. Others were recognized for 10, 20 and 30 years of service.

This year's inductees into the Centennial Legacy Circle included Fran Jones, director of Union and Programs; Dr. Lois Leventhal, professor of Music; Dr. Maureen Martin, director of the DuBard School for Language Disorders, and Dr. Joseph S. Paul, Vice President for Student Affairs.

The University Police Department also recognized two of its officers -- Shannon Tappan and Dennis Hooper – with the department's Life Saving Medal. Both are stationed on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.